rich menga books search contact

***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

Amazon links are affiliated. Learn more.

Is your cheap guitar holding you back?

The answer to this question all depends on whether you have the right cheap guitar or not.

Above is me playing my SX Furrian Fat. It's called "Fat" because it has a humbucker pickup in the neck position instead of the traditional single-coil for both positions.

The Furrian is a Telecaster style guitar available from Rondo and sells new in the USA for under $200. That's cheap money for a new electric guitar in 2021. Last year, I bought not only the Furrian Fat seen above but also a regular Furrian as well. However, I had a very specific reason for getting these two guitars, which I'll cover in a moment.

On that whole "an expensive guitar will make you a better player" argument...

Most of the time, cheap guitars play just as good as the expensive ones do, with emphasis on the word most.

For example, take the Fender Player Telecaster. What makes that guitar more expensive is what you don't see. The pickups will have better dynamic response. Under the pick guard and control plate, you will find good wiring, proper shielding, proper solder connections, full size potentiometers and a traditional (and more expensive) pickup switch instead of one that uses a small PCB (printed circuit board). The fret ends are also usually finished better.

...but does any of that stuff make you a better player?


You can obviously take a cheap Tele copy, rewire it, re-shield it, change pots, change pickups, change pickup switch and dress the fret ends with the proper tool.

As long as you're not fighting with the instrument...

As has been said by many thousands of guitar players over the years, good setup really, really matters.

The #1 thing that makes a cheap guitar play terribly is the fact it's not set up. Out of the box, the string action is sky high, neck relief is totally wrong, intonation is way off, and so on. In that state, of course the guitar will play terribly and you'll be fighting with it right from the start until a proper setup is done.

Time spent on setting the guitar up will make a world of difference. There's no excuse not to know how to set a guitar up as there are many YouTube videos explaining how to do it.

But is that all there is to it to become a better player? Just a good guitar setup?

No, there is more.

This is where I explain why I got the Furrian guitars to begin with. It all comes down to the neck. As I've mentioned before, that particular guitar has a thicker neck with a flatter 350mm (almost 14") fingerboard radius and jumbo frets. For a Telecaster style guitar, this is obviously nonstandard, but it agrees with my fret hand very well.

I did not come to know this until after I spent some time with thin-necked guitars first.

For those of you who have been following me a while, you remember when I had the black Squier Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster. Good guitar? Yes. Great, in fact. But it had a thin neck on it that I just couldn't get along with. No amount of good guitar setup would ever magically thicken up that neck, so it had to go.

The Furrians I have now literally sell for less than half the price of one of those Squier CV guitars, but the Furrian neck is one I don't fight with.

You are better off buying several cheap guitars to find out what agrees with you best

I can understand spending a bunch of money on a guitar when you are absolutely sure of exactly what works for you. But if you're not sure of what guitar suits you best, going cheap and staying there until you find something good is the better option.

For me, I found the right cheap guitar for what I like to play. It's comfortable, I don't fight with it, and it allows me to continue to learn new things and advance as a guitar player. But this was not an overnight thing, and I had to go through several other guitars before landing on something that really worked.

I am not saying you have to play the same guitar I do. Not at all. What I am saying is to learn how to do a good setup first. If that doesn't help improve things, try different cheap guitars, and especially go for things you haven't tried before. You have options. There is 25.5" scale (Strat/Tele), 24.75" scale (Les Paul/SG), solid body, semi-hollow body, and so on among other things.

When you find the one that works for you the best, then you can consider throwing some big cash at a more expensive guitar. And that may not even be necessary, because once you find something you really like, why replace it?


Best ZOOM R8 tutorial book
highly rated, get recording quick!

Gibson Les Paul Headstock New and Premium Used Gibson Les Paul guitars are all right here

⭐ Recent Posts

PRS SE EGThe guitar PRS wants you to forget, the SE EG
This is what PRS was making in the early 2000s.

NUX Duotime Stereo Delay Pedal3 solid reasons to use digital delay instead of analog
Switch to digital and you'll enjoy using the delay effect for guitar a whole lot more.

Boss RC-5 Loop Station Guitar Looper PedalWill looper drums ever not suck?
It is amazing that this problem still exists.

The best looking Dean Z I've ever seen
This is an example of when Dean does the Z right.

Black Sabbath - Black SabbathMy favorite Black Sabbath track from their first album
It's not what you think it is.

🔥 Popular Posts 🔥

Fender Custom Shop Limited Edition Golden 1954 Heavy Relic StratEverything you ever wanted to know about nitro guitar finishes
Is it good? Bad? That depends on your point of view.

Casio F-91WCasio F-91W cheat sheet
A quick guide on how to set the time, date and a few other tips and tricks.

PRS SE EGThe guitar PRS wants you to forget, the SE EG
This is what PRS was making in the early 2000s.

DigiTech Nexus LibrarianDoes the DigiTech Nexus software for the RP360 really work?
Information on DigiTech Nexus software for the RP360

BEAD Bass Guitar TuningBEAD tuning for bass, the easiest way for tuning down
Information on BEAD tuning for the electric bass

Is a fat Telecaster right for you?
This is a type of Telecaster that seems like the ultimate Tele, and for some it might be.

Squier Thinline TelecasterGetting a lightweight electric guitar the easy way
Many guitars bust over 8lbs (3.6kg) in weight. Can we go lighter and still get something good? Yes, we can.